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Best Smartwatch: The 10 best smartwatches for style, fitness and function

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smartwatch round up

Smartwatches are still largely in their infancy in tech-terms but that doesn't mean they haven't come a long way since the days of the original Pebble. Having said that, it's still difficult to separate the duds from the wearables deserving a place on your wrist.

Smartwatch manufacturers initially struggled to pinpoint their exact purpose, finding it difficult to reduce the dependence on a connected smartphone. Then they also had to tackle poor battery life and unwieldy designs before finding a good compromise.

Fortunately, then, with newer models that have been recently released, and those that are coming out soon, many of these problems are beginning to be rectified. This has been helped by major operating system updates such as the forthcoming Android Wear 2.0 and recently released watchOS 3.

We've had plenty of smartwatches come through the TrustedReviews offices, so here's our guide to helping you pick the right smartwatch for your wrist.

This Week's Best Smartwatch Deals

Moto 360 2 at Amazon.co.uk | Was £230 | Now £177

Pebble Time Steel at Amazon.co.uk | Was £199 | Now £79

Samsung Gear S2 at Amazon.co.uk | Was £306 | Now £283

Huawei Watch at Amazon.co.uk | Was £289 | Now £199

Garmin Fenix 3 at Amazon.co.uk | Was £379 | Now £280

Samsung Gear S2 at Amazon.com | Was $299 | Now $264

Huawei Watch at Amazon.com | Was $299 | Now $213

Apple Watch at Amazon.com | Was $349 | Now $259

Watch: Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2

Best smartwatch – What to look for when buying a smart watch

Software

Before buying any smartwatch you should consider what type of phone you use. Outside of a few exceptions, close to all smartwatches need to be paired with a smartphone to fully function, as well as a means to relay your notifications and messages to your wrist,

As a result, if you’re an Android user, you should steer clear of the Apple Watch. Likewise, if you have an iPhone you’ll need to make sure the smartwatch you’re considering runs software that's compatible with Apple's iOS.

If you're looking at an Android Wear watch, it's worth looking to see if it'll get the Android Wear 2.0 update. You can see what watches will be updated in this article. Android Wear 2.0 brings some important and useful updates including Google's smart Assistant, as well as support for standalone apps that don't require a companion on your smartphone, just like on watchOS 3 on the Apple Watch.

If you’re buying a smartwatch that runs proprietary software, like Samsung Tizen or Pebble OS, you’ll also want to check which apps will run on it, as not all of them have mainstream third-party support. Apple's watchOS and Google's Android Wear have much better support when it comes to wrist-based apps.

Why you want it

Before buying a smartwatch you should consider what you plan to do with it. If all you want it for is fitness tracking, or step counting, there are cheaper wearables available from companies such as Moov, Fitbit and Misfit.

Likewise, if you’re not concerned about fitness tracking, there’s no need to purchase a more expensive smartwatch with GPS and a heart rate monitor. If you just want a quick and easy way to check incoming alerts from your phone, you probably won’t need to shell out for an Apple Watch, or Moto 360 2.

However, if you want to use your smartwatch to answer emails or book calendar appointments, you’ll have to pay a bit more and invest in a unit that has either voice command or touchscreen functionality.

Related: Best Fitness Trackers

Battery life

Battery life is one of our biggest qualms with smartwatches. In our experience even the most expensive smartwatch is unable to last more than one to two days off a single charge. Devices also generally use proprietary charging docks, which adds further insult to injury.

As a result, when buying a smartwatch you should keep in mind that you'll likely have to add yet another item to the list of devices you regularly have to charge. Early watches could barely scrape past a day but nowadays, it's much more common to get two days of battery life before rampantly scrambling for an outlet.

Recent watches have begun offering ultra power saving modes, too, which turn off all the smart features except the time, so you don't get left with a completely useless device on your wrist.

Long-term appeal

You should also keep in mind that smartwatches don’t have the same longevity as a regular timepiece. When you buy a smartwatch it won’t be with you for life. Like all modern technology, they'll eventually break down or simply become obsolete and unsupported.

As a result, you should think twice before shelling out multiple thousands of pounds for swanky items such as the Apple Watch Edition or TAG Heuer Connected unless you have very deep pockets.

Upcoming Smartwatches

LG Watch Sport

We'll soon be seeing the first wave of Android Wear 2.0 and two of the first have come from LG. These are the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. The former of the two is the more expensive option and, as the name suggests, is geared more towards fitness. It packs in a GPS antenna and heart rate monitor. It also includes NFC support, which isn't available on the Watch Style, meaning it supports Android Pay for convenient contactless payments. The Watch Style, on the other hand, is all about the design and is supposedly the thinnest Android Wear watch to date.

Casio also recently showed off its WSD-F20 ruggedised smartwatch, which will be one of the first to launch with the new version of the operating system. New Balance also unveiled its RunIQ smartwatch geared towards runners and designed in partnership with Strava. The great news is that it's already confirmed that it'll be getting the Android Wear 2.0 update down the line, too.

WSD-F20

Then, most recently at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, Huawei took the covers of its Huawei Watch 2. Like LG's recent offerings, there are two distinct versions, the standard and Huawei Watch 2 Classic. The differences mainly come down to the designs, with the Classic using more premium materials – and costing more for it. Otherwise, fitness is at the core of all of the models, with GPS and a heart rate sensor built-in. Other conveniences include Android Pay available for contactless payments. Of course, the other big draw is Android Wear 2.0.

Which smartwatch are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

godafoss

April 8, 2016, 12:14 am

There is not single smartwatch worth sh!t at the moment. Still years away from being viable. And the Apple iWatch is the ugliest POS I've seen.

Natalia Pierzchała

July 16, 2016, 2:30 pm

I got Lg Urban watch 2, GSM module, amoled display, piece of good stuff

LeeTronix

November 15, 2016, 7:56 am

Here we are again Nov 2016. Still nothing new. I do agree with the article talking about its what you want out of a watch. That is the key area. I have the Apple Watch first gen and I have no intention of needing the next apple gen watch which is now out. For two reasons, the first being I am fine with the original watch for what I want out of it and secondly the OS upgrade to v3 has vastly improved the speed and accuracy of my watch and hence it works great for me.

Also not everyone is going to want to spend stupid amounts of money to just run with their watch or use it in the pool or gym. Their are far far cheaper and specific alternatives for that. When I am working out at the gym I like to take my watch and any jewelry off so I am focused on my workout and not distracted with looking at data. Also modern gym equipment has all the stats built in on machines mostly. For those who are purists i.e. Weigh lifting and reps (real work outs) they are not going to be interested in a wrist smart watch as it takes the focus away.

As for Pebble I think they do make a nice watch I really love the design of the Pebble watches and especially for their price too.

Alan Garrison

February 1, 2017, 7:41 pm

I just got the gear s3 frontier and I like it the only down side I can find it it's not 100% compatible with my 128gb pixel XL! Other than that it's awesome huge upgrade from the s2

Wrecked Angle

March 1, 2017, 3:43 pm

Until they sort out battery life all these smart watches are worthless. Forget to charge your watch one night and the next afternoon you're wandering around with pointless weight on your wrist. Then they even give you a 'sleep tracker' as part of the software, if you're wearing it through the night when exactly are you supposed to charge it?

Mikael Nilsson

March 16, 2017, 7:43 am

Test the Samsung Gear S3 to find your winner. >3 days battery life, fully integrated with my S7.

ButtercupKelley

April 9, 2017, 7:04 pm

I have the Apple watch II, which has some cool features, like the GPS, so I can track all the walking around I do at work, (cell phones must be left in our cars) and it syncs later. Down side is it REALLY burns through battery life when using any type of tracking, and quickly becomes nothing more than a regular watch. I found a nice case that has a battery backup built in, you put the magnetic charger in the case, plug it in and it simultaneously charges the phone and the case, so I can keep it charged during downtime, like driving to and from work. You're not clocking steps, anyway, so you may as well use the time to recharge the watch.

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